Covid Updates: Trump to Sign ‘America First' Vaccines Policy as First U.S. Approval Could Be Days Away

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

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White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Deborah Birx issued a dire warning Sunday, saying the upcoming winter months of the Covid-19 pandemic will be "the worst event that this country will face, not just from a public health side." Birx and other national health experts have repeatedly warned the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction ahead of colder temperatures and winter holidays. Daily new infections in the country, as a seven-day average, are at an all-time high and quickly approaching 200,000, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.

Here are some of the biggest developments Monday:

The following data was compiled by Johns Hopkins University:

  • Global cases: More than 67.47 million
  • Global deaths: At least 1.54 million
  • U.S. cases: More than 14.9 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 283,503

Arizona and Michigan legislatures take a break after Rudy Giuliani gets coronavirus

Rudy Giuliani, personal lawyer of US President Donald Trump, looks at documents as he appears before the Michigan House Oversight Committee in Lansing, Michigan on December 2, 2020.
Jeff Kowalsky | AFP | Getty Images
Rudy Giuliani, personal lawyer of US President Donald Trump, looks at documents as he appears before the Michigan House Oversight Committee in Lansing, Michigan on December 2, 2020.

Rudy Giuliani's positive test for the coronavirus led the legislature of Arizona to suspend proceedings for a week, and the Michigan House to suspend any votes that would have occurred Tuesday.

Giuliani, who is leading President Donald Trump's efforts to reverse Joe Biden's win in the presidential race, had contact with Republican lawmakers from both states last week when he appeared at GOP-hosted events.

Trump revealed Sunday that Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, had Covid-19.

The diagnosis came more than two weeks after Giuliani's son, Andrew, an assistant to Trump, himself tested positive for the coronavirus a day after attending a packed press conference hosted by his father.

Giuliani is at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C, where he is "doing well," Trump told reporters.

Dan Mangan

Pfizer, Moderna decline invite to White House’s ‘Vaccine Summit’

Pfizer and Moderna rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's invitation to attend a White House "Vaccine Summit" scheduled for Tuesday, Reuters reported.

The meeting — which comes ahead of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's review of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine candidates — will be attended by Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and private-sector drug distributors, pharmacies and logistics companies such as McKesson, Walgreens Boots Alliance, CVS Health, United Parcel Service and FedEx.

Stat News reported earlier that Pfizer and Moderna would not be attending the summit, citing sources familiar with the event's planning.

—Melodie Warner 

Covid-sparked boating boom likely to last into 2021, says Brunswick CEO

The pandemic-fueled surge in recreational boat sales is likely to last into next year, Brunswick CEO David Foulkes told CNBC, citing a shift in the demographic of buyers as one reason for the momentum to continue.

"People are making decisions now, even in the winter, to acquire boats," Foulkes said on "Closing Bell." "I looked at retail finance applications this morning. They were up about 90% over the same period last year, so that is a really strong leading indicator of good retail next year," he added.

Kevin Stankiewicz

Trump to sign 'America First' Covid-19 vaccine order prioritizing Americans

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Tuesday that will direct federal agencies to prioritize Americans as the administration seeks to facilitate the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, a senior administration official told NBC News.

The exact details of the order were not immediately clear — CNBC has not reviewed a draft — but the official said that it will provide for assistance to foreign countries in obtaining vaccines "once we've ensured we've met the needs of the American people."

Promising vaccine candidates are set to be reviewed by the FDA this month and could start being distributed before the end of the year. Officials have said that it could take months for all Americans who want a vaccine to receive one.

Trump's order could prove to be largely symbolic. President-elect Joe Biden will take office on Jan. 20, and is expected to shape his own agenda with regard to vaccine distribution.

Tucker Higgins

Palantir stock jumps on report of an FDA deal

Palantir stock jumped as much as 21.5% Monday following a Bloomberg report that the company won a three-year contract worth $44.4 million with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The agency will use Palantir's software to help approve drugs, including possible Covid-19 treatments, and monitor items' safety, according to the report.

Co-founded in 2003 by tech investors Peter Thiel and Joe Lonsdale, CEO Alex Karp and others, Palantir provides data analytics software and services to government agencies and large companies. But its government work makes up more than half of its revenue, bringing in $163 million in its latest quarter.

Jessica Bursztynsky

Pfizer vaccine FDA emergency authorization could be days away

The FDA could authorize Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine at the end of this week after an advisory committee meets to discuss the clinical trial data. It would be the first Covid-19 vaccine approved for use in the U.S.

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is expected to consider an emergency use authorization for the vaccine on Thursday. Two days before the meeting, the FDA is expected to release a roughly 100-page document evaluating the companies' clinical trial data, according to Dr. Paul Offit, a voting member of the committee.

An emergency use authorization would be a pivotal moment in the pandemic as public health officials say the U.S. is likely to face its worst public health crisis in history this winter.

U.S. officials say they will distribute the vaccine within 24 hours of authorization. Initial doses of the vaccine will be limited as manufacturing ramps up, with health-care workers and nursing homes first in line to get the vaccine.

–Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Bill Gates criticizes the federal government's lack of leadership with vaccine distribution

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said the federal government's Covid reponse could make vaccine distribution "tricky and kind of weird," during an interview with NBC's "TODAY" last wee.

The Centers for Disease Control has not had a visible role in fighting Covid, Gates told Savannah Guthrie. "The federal government has abdicated on many things during the pandemic," he said.

State, tribal, territorial and local governments are tasked with determining who can receive the vaccine first and distributing it, in accordance with guidelines outlined by the CDC.

Leaving vaccine distribution up to the states, which have fewer resources than the federal government, "means we won't be perfect, but it will get done," Gates said.

The billionaire philanthropist said that the U.S. should have been able to handle the pandemic better. "As we do the post mortem, there'll be a lot of things, like confused messaging [and] lack of leadership, that will fall on the executive branch," Gates said. "We'll hope that the next time we do a lot better."

Cory Stieg

'Shark Tank' host O'Leary on how inconsistent Covid restrictions affect business planning

Kevin O'Leary on Monday called for a more uniform approach to implementing coronavirus restrictions on businesses, saying the cross-country variability has resulted in "total chaos."

"My question is very simple: Who decides? Is it at the city level, the state level, the federal level? Tell me what the rules are so I can make economic decisions on behalf of my employees," the "Shark Tank" investor said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

He pointed to policies in parts of California that are restricting outdoor dining as being particularly unfair, given businesses spent tens of thousands of dollars preparing tables in parking lots, for example. "I'm not even saying open them inside," he said. But he questioned the logic behind banning outdoor dining in one region, while other states take a different approach.  "How can I be open in Miami in the same chain?" he said.

Kevin Stankiewicz

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to Shark Tank," on which Kevin O'Leary is a co-host.

New York City could close indoor dining next week, Cuomo says

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday the state could close indoor dining in New York City and slash capacity elsewhere across the state if current hospitalization trends continue.

"We're going to clamp down on indoor dining. Five days, if the hospitalization rate doesn't stabilize in New York City, we're going to close indoor dining," he said at a news briefing. "Do I believe between now and five days we'll see a stabilization rate in New York City? I would be pleasantly surprised. I don't think it is probable, but it is possible."

He reiterated that even more restrictions will be necessary if hospitals reach a critical point. Cuomo said that based on the seven-day average hospitalization rate, if a region is projected to hit a 90% capacity level within three weeks, the state will implement a "shutdown" on the region.

"You can't overwhelm the hospital system," Cuomo said. "Overwhelming the hospital system means people die on a gurney in a hallway. And the life you could have saved, you can't save, because you don't have the staff, you don't have the doctor, you don't have the nurse, and people die unnecessarily."

—Will Feuer

Los Angeles suspends in-person learning

Los Angeles Unified School District is suspending in-person learning and childcare programs for the rest of the fall semester amid the surge of Covid cases, Superintendent Austin Beutner said.

It's the second-largest school district in the country, behind only that of New York City, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The school district had been providing one-on-one and small-group in-person sessions.

"Because of the extraordinary high level of Covid-19 in the Los Angeles area, it is no longer safe and appropriate to have any students on campus," Beutner said in a statement. "We will also be asking those who are currently working at schools to work from home if at all possible for the rest of the semester. 

The order comes after the state implemented a sweeping stay-at-home order after the available capacity of intensive-care units fell below 15% in San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, triggering the governor's backstop.

—Will Feuer

Congress rushes to pass more Covid relief, avoid a government shutdown

Congress is rushing to pass both coronavirus relief and government funding before the end of the week.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers plans to release a more detailed breakdown of its $908 billion aid plan. Democratic leaders have endorsed the proposal as a basis for emergency relief legislation.

The biggest remaining sticking points are how to structure state and local government aid — supported by Democrats and many Republicans — and a liability shield for businesses backed by GOP leaders.

Congress also needs to pass a spending bill by Friday to prevent a government shutdown. Lawmakers hope to tie pandemic relief provisions to the funding plan.

About 12 million people could lose unemployment benefits later this month. The expiration of an eviction moratorium at the end of the year will leave millions facing the threat of losing their homes.

—Jacob Pramuk

U.S. to hit new records as officials weigh restrictions

Hospitals across the United States already have a higher load of Covid patients than ever before and the country's outbreak is primed to set even more grim records this week.

If current trends hold, the U.S. will report a seven-day average of more than 200,000 daily new Covid cases. The U.S. is rapidly approaching a record-high level in the country's seven-day average of daily Covid deaths, as well, driven by a sharp uptick in reported fatalities in recent weeks. An average of roughly 2,200 daily new deaths is being reported as of Sunday, according to Hopkins data, just shy of the record 2,241 weekly average set in late April. 

The harrowing figures come as officials in California instituted some of the most sweeping restrictions seen so far this fall. 

—Will Feuer

David’s Bridal CEO says wedding dress demand is resilient

David's Bridal CEO Jim Marcum said demand for wedding dresses has proven resilient as some couples postpone ceremonies or scale them down to a "minimony" in the backyard, reports CNBC's Melissa Repko.

"That is the beauty about the industry — people are falling in love," he told CNBC. "It [a wedding] may be delayed, but it is not going away."

David's Bridal emerged from bankruptcy last year after reducing its debt load by more than $400 million. The company is now owned by lenders, including Oaktree Capital Group.

The wedding retailer adapted to brides' changing tastes and navigated the pandemic by offering virtual consultations that allowed brides to meet with a stylist by video call.

David's Bridal adjusted its products and more than doubled its casual bride assortment with "little white dresses," jumpsuits and separates like sequin tops and tulle skirts. It is also selling a new wedding accessory: face masks made in the same fabric as bridesmaid dresses.

—Melodie Warner 

New York City reopens elementary schools for in-person classes

Children line up to attend class at PS 361 on the first day of a return to class during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., December 7, 2020.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters
Children line up to attend class at PS 361 on the first day of a return to class during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., December 7, 2020.

New York City reopened its elementary schools for in-person learning, even as the city continues to fight back its biggest viral increases since late April, reports NBC News.

The nation's largest public school district is taking a phased approach to help keep schools open. Parental consent for Covid testing is required for elementary and pre-K students returning to in-person classes. Older students will wait until 2021 to return to in-person classes.

—Melodie Warner 

Francesca’s plans to shut another 97 apparel stores after bankruptcy filing

The apparel chain Francesca's is planning to shut an additional 97 locations, which comes after its recent filing for bankruptcy protection, dealing another blow to America's mall owners.

The Houston-based company had previously said it planned to close about 140 of its 700 stores — roughly half of which are found in U.S. shopping malls.

Due to the pandemic, Francesca's had to temporarily close its stores in March, resulting in a 50% drop in first-quarter net sales, which raised doubts about its ability to stay afloat. Last week, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, hoping to complete a sale of its business by late January.

Some of Francesca's top landlords include mall owners Simon Property GroupBrookfield, CBL & Associates and Pennsylvania REIT. The latter two both filed for bankruptcy protection last month, hurt by their retail, restaurant and entertainment tenants either not paying rent or closing their doors for good.

—Lauren Thomas

2021 Paris Air Show canceled because of coronavirus

The French ''Patrouille de France'' perform aerobatics at the Paris Air Show in 2011
Pierre Verdy | AFP | Getty Images
The French ''Patrouille de France'' perform aerobatics at the Paris Air Show in 2011

Organizers have canceled the 2021 Paris Air Show because of "uncertainty" stemming from the Covid-19 crisis. The event is held every other year, switching off with the Farnborough Airshow outside of London. The July 2020 Farnborough Airshow was called off in March.

"This reasonable decision was agreed upon unanimously by the Paris Air Show Board members in the context of a crisis that has had an unprecedented impact on the aerospace industry," the organizers said in a statement on Monday. The event was scheduled for June 21-27, 2021.

The events are the world's biggest air shows and are often where airlines and big suppliers like Boeing and Airbus announce large orders.

Such sales have largely dried up in the pandemic as airlines and leasing companies scramble to save cash because of the slump in air travel.

Leslie Josephs

Gottlieb says he will not eat inside at restaurants due to Covid concerns

Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC he has eaten outdoors at restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic but avoided eating indoors.

"I think the risk is too high to be in a confined space without a mask on with other people eating in that same location right now," Gottlieb said on "Squawk Box."

However, other indoor activities such as shopping at a retail store present a lower risk for virus transmission, Gottlieb said. "On a personal level, I've gone to many big-box stores properly masked, and I wear a high-quality mask when I go out. I will not eat indoors in a restaurant," he said.

Kevin Stankiewicz

Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic testing start-up Tempus and biotech company Illumina. Gottlieb also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings′ and Royal Caribbean's "Healthy Sail Panel." 

Dow and S&P 500 slip at open amid increasing coronavirus cases

U.S. stock opened lower as traders worried about rising coronavirus cases and searched for clues on additional fiscal aid, reports CNBC's Fred Imbert.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 73 points lower, or down 0.3%, and the S&P 500 dipped 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, hovered just above the flatline.

—Melodie Warner

U.S. hospitalizations continue to climb

A patient is wheeled into the hospital during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., December 4, 2020.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters
A patient is wheeled into the hospital during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., December 4, 2020.

More than 101,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with Covid-19, according to the latest data from The Atlantic's COVID Tracking Project. That figure has doubled in just a month.

Parts of the country are seeing ICU bed availability dwindle, at the same time new case rates continue to climb. Hospitalizations tend to lag a spike in new cases by two weeks, given the virus' incubation period, meaning the strain on health systems in likely to get worse in the next week or so, following the Thanksgiving holiday.

—Sara Salinas

UK prepares to roll out Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Tuesday

Dado Ruvic | Reuters
Vials labelled "COVID-19 Coronavirus-Vaccine" and a medical syringe are seen placed on the European Union map in this picture illustration taken December 2, 2020.

The U.K. is preparing to administer the first Covid-19 vaccines to the public on Tuesday, making it one of the first countries in the world to do so.

The first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech shots, which gained emergency approval from the U.K. drug regulator last week, will be given on Tuesday to frontline health workers, care home workers and Britons over 80.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the rollout "one of the biggest civilian logistical efforts" the U.K. has ever faced. It will be the U.K.'s biggest vaccination drive ever. British newspapers on Monday hailed it "V Day" and "Vaxit" — a play on "Brexit."

Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC's previous live coverage here:

Covid live updates: San Francisco Bay Area sets stay-at-home order; CDC says some reinfection is expected

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